The mayor of South Korea’s capital city announced he planned to shut down all remaining dog slaughterhouses after watching a cartoon about abandoned dogs.
Seoul mayor, Park Won-soon, vowed to close all dog butcheries in the city and made the announcement to an audience at the weekend after a screening of an animated film called Underdog.
The movie, released last year, is about abandoned dogs that find themselves in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.
Each year, 8,500 dogs are abandoned in Seoul and a quarter of them are euthanized because they are not adopted, he told the crowd.
The mayor said he went to see the film to ‘find a way to raise the adoption rate for stray dogs’ and promote a campaign encouraging people not to abandon animals, the Korean Times reported.
Park added: ‘I heard there are wild dogs on Mount Bukhan. I feel responsible for them, and this was a burden while watching the film.
The mayor, who used to work as a human rights lawyer, visited the movie theatre to raise awareness of animal rights.
Last year animal rights organisation Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) were accused of euthanizing more than 200 stray dogs without authorisation.
The scandal led to the trade in canine meat facing increasing opposition across South Korea.
Park said: ‘I published a thesis about animal rights when I was studying in England in 1991.
‘Back then, I was a human rights lawyer and people condemned me for talking about animal rights when human rights are still not guaranteed.
‘However, human rights are guaranteed in a society where animal rights are secured.’
Only five shops in the main market in the city still sell dog meat and three of those slaughter dogs on the premises.
A South Korean court also ruled last June that killing dogs for meat is illegal, in a landmark decision which animal rights activists said could pave the way to outlawing eating canines.
The meat has long been a part of South Korean cuisine, with about one million dogs eaten a year.
Consumption has declined in South Korea with the practice now something of a taboo among younger generations and pressure from activists mounting.
Authorities have invoked hygiene regulations or animal protection laws that ban cruel slaughter methods to crack down on dog farms and restaurants.
Dog farm owners have been protesting a potential ban of the meat sale as many Koreans traditionally eat dog in the summer as it is believed to increase energy.
A survey in 2017 found that 70 per cent of South Koreans do not eat dogs, but only about 40 per cent believe the practice should be banned.
Park said: ‘In the past, we had several dog butcher shops in Cheongnyangni, but I closed almost all of them down through various measures.
‘Currently, one or two dog slaughterhouses remain. I cannot force them to go out of business, so I will put pressure on them to move.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Chris Dyer